4FRONT VOICES - Police Brutality: Hate crimes?

By Kadeem Marshall-Oxley:

The police aren’t learning from the people they subject their harshest treatment towards. I’m one of them. I have been left suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression after what the police described as an “altercation”. I describe the incident as a racially targeted attack, a hate crime. The police definition of a hate crime is 'any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race’ among other factors.

In my case, police brutality happened when I questioned their wrongful approach to stop and search. A discriminatory stop and search going wrong is the quickest way for a Black man to enter the criminal justice system - even though the codes of ethics gives the impression that you can challenge unlawful conduct.

Being Black is one thing; being a Black male is another thing; being a young Black male with mental ill health is another thing. There are levels to the type of discrimination that police subject us to. The harshest reserved for those who don’t know their rights and those who they feel they can get away with perpetuating a crime towards.

When I see videos of police brutality, I’m reminded of how badly situations involving Black people are dealt with and the lack of understanding on the officers part. I feel their meaningful intention is to create a hostile situation - especially in poorer areas - which creates unfavourable outcomes, especially when the suspect is Black. I’ve personally witnessed police brutality before I ever experienced it myself. Every time the feeling is the same. The overbearing feeling of oppression - being oppressed by individuals who know that they won’t be held to account. The fact that police officers aren’t convicted contributes to their toxic attitude towards the most vulnerable.

I think the most inhumane trait for any person is to not want to learn. That is the perception carried of Black people - that we don’t want to fit in socially. We are all targeted because of misconceptions. Socially, I’d never be accepted for my differences. My life’s been an example - from school exclusion to involvement with the youth and adult criminal justice system. When you’re Black, you’re perceived as being ‘in a gang’ or ‘involved in the supply of drugs’ simply by your complexion. Those thoughts are reinforced by how we as young Black males are targeted and treated from generation to generation. The police claim to be a trauma-informed institution that routinely trains their staff, but the disparities in violence and the treatment of Black people compared to others continues to widen.

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